NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A mother is outraged after reporting that a stranger found her special needs child a mile from school – in the cold and all alone.
Late Thursday, she still was not sure how it happened. CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez went to the school to find out.
The boy, who is autistic, is at home and safe now. But he is nonverbal and had no way or communicating who he was, where he came from, or how he ended up on the bus that left him alone on the street.
Evelyn Gonzalez said P.S. 83 in the Bronx and the Department of Education owe her more than an apology.
She is demanding an explanation for how her 5-year-old autistic son ended up on a school bus and was abandoned on an unfamiliar street without any supervision.
Gonzalez and school administrators were unable to find him for nearly an hour.
“My son in the street! He’s not supposed to be my son in the street,” Gonzalez said. “The school says it not our responsibility for that. Yeah! It’s your responsibility because my son is not supposed to be taking the bus. It’s responsibility of the school. It’s responsibility of the bus too.”
Gonzalez said every day, a family member picks up her son in his classroom and they walk home. But when a cousin went to pick him up on Monday, he was missing.
The special needs child ended up on a school bus and was dropped off in the cold on Van Nest Avenue near Taylor Avenue about a mile away from the school.
Angie Peña said the boy approached her as she walked up to her home near the bus stop.
“He belongs to someone. He’s a very nice well behaved boy. Well kept,” Peña said. “I just understood that he was having trouble trying to communicate.”
Peña and another woman figured out the child went to P.S. 83. They called the school and the assistant principal picked him up.
He got here. He didn’t want to know nothing about it. He says I don’t want to know what happened or how he got here,” Peña said. “He took the little boy by the wrist and he literally dragged him down the block.”
Peña said she placed a note with her phone number in the child’s backpack. Gonzalez called her and said she is grateful that Peña took in her son and gave her information the school would not provide.
Principal Brandon Muccino said Gonzalez and Peña’s accounts of what happened are wrong.
“Check your facts. Your facts are wrong,” Muccino said.
CBS2’s Sanchez told him: “That’s why we’re doing the story. Can you tell us what happened then if our facts are wrong? Can you tell us what the real facts are?”
Muccino replied: “The DOE can give you a statement. I’m not at liberty to do that.”
The Department of Education did not give CBS2 any information, only saying, “We’re working closely with the family and will ensure appropriate follow-up action is taken.”
Meanwhile, Gonzalez said, “I’m very mad for the school.”
The incident happened on Monday, and there were still numerous unanswered questions four days later. Gonzalez said the DOE and administrators from P.S. 83 called her for the first time on Thursday and did apologize.
But she said she is pulling her son from the school.